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Demonstration of myogenic stem cells on isolated muscle fibres

Highly prolific myogenic cells are found in skeletal muscle and are commonly said to be derived from the satellite cells that are tightly associated with the muscle fibre. To study the myogenic potential of satellite cells we have studied isolated muscle fibres in tissue culture and found that only a minority of satellite cells are highly proliferative and myogenic.

We have also grafted isolated muscle fibres and found that a minority of fibres contain a satellite cell that is highly myogenic in that it can repair a large volume of muscle around the graft site and replace the satellite cell population on these fibres: properties that define them as stem cells. We calculate that such cells constitute about 1-2% of the total number and that they differ in behaviour but not in frequency between different muscles. Further characterization of this category of cell would provide a basis for improving our control over muscle repair and for myoblast transplantation strategies.

Reported by

Medical Research Council, Clinical Sciences Centre
Hammersmith Hospital, Ducane Road
W12 0NN London
United Kingdom
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